Studies show that trees talk! Trees communicate with each other through fungi networks buried in the soil. They transfer nutrients, even share their worries and secrets. If you don’t believe me, listen to the tree.
Tree Confessions by This Is Not A Theater Company is a site-specific (meaning you need to listen to it at a suggested location, which in this case is by a tree) audio theater experience written by Jenny Lyn Bader, directed by Erin B. Mee, and stars Tony-nominated and Obie-award winning actress Kathleen Chalfant as the tree. It tells the story of a landmark study about tree communication, told by a tree.
This Is Not A Theater Company always thinks outside the box and creates theater-like experiences that are different from the traditional theater experience, because this is not a theater company (hehe).
That’s why to experience this audio theater piece, I went to the park; found a lucky tree to sit under; and listened to the confessions of this wise old tree. It was delightful.
Suzanne Simard was researching her doctoral thesis when she discovered that trees talk to each other (Toomey, 2016). Her research revealed that trees communicate their needs and even send each other nutrients. They use the fungi buried in the soil to warn each other about environmental change and transfer their nutrients to neighboring plants before they die. This system is nicknamed as the Wood Wide Web. How cute!
But not all species use this network for the benefit of all, some of them sabotage other trees by spreading toxic chemicals which increases their chances of survival (BBC, 2018).
There are researches and best-selling books like written about this phenomena, most famously Peter Wohlleben’s The Hidden Life of Trees, and more scientists are perceiving trees as purposeful beings that can feel and that have dynamic relationships with each other. Their symbiotic networks resemble human neural and social networks. Which makes researchers think, maybe trees aren’t only talking to each other.
In fact, history is full of stories of people speaking with trees but we don’t take these stories seriously today. Some believe that we’ve learned to be suspicious of subjective human interactions with the natural world (Lane, 2019). So in a sense, trees have always been communicating with not only each other but us too, but we just stopped listening to them.
I highly recommend you to experience Tree Confessions! The tickets cost only a few dollars and at the end of the experience you are left with a peaceful bliss and a strong compassion for trees.
“Trees communicate with one another. I’m trying to listen” (2019) by Belden C. Lane – https://www.christiancentury.org/article/first-person/trees-communicate-one-another-i-m-trying-listen
“How trees secretly talk to each other” (2018) by BBC CrowdScience – https://www.bbc.com/news/av/science-environment-44643177
“Exploring How and Why Trees ‘Talk’ to Each Other” (2016) by Diane Toomey – https://e360.yale.edu/features/exploring_how_and_why_trees_talk_to_each_other
* Some links above are affiliate, which means that if you make a purchase I get compensated for it at no additional cost to you.